Call Tracking

Attributing all the sales your marketing generates can be significantly enhanced when you use call tracking as part of your marketing solution stack. For companies that want to get the most out of their marketing spend and analyse the complete customer journey, call tracking can be the solution.

eCommerce stores can track shopping cart abandonment and increase sales conversion by placing a tracking phone number on their shopping cart. Service-based businesses can track their inbound sales calls from Google, Bing and Facebook alike to optimise spending and increase appointments and sales.

Analytics platforms like Google Analytics do a great job of tracking online conversions and CRM systems complement analytics tools by providing the sales data from your campaigns. However, the missing piece from your MI will be call tracking – being able to attribute phone sales back to your marketing campaign so you can optimise your spend to deliver more.

Leading small and large businesses alike can benefit. By finding the customer friction points that are affecting sales, you can resolve these issues and drive greater value with the right call tracking software solution.

Agencies can use call tracking to validate their client’s campaign and help them grow by correctly attributing the success of a campaign.

What is call tracking?

Many people ask what call tracking is, and what different types of call tracking solutions are out there.

Wikipedia’s definition: “Call tracking software records information about incoming telephone calls and in some regions even the conversation. Call tracking is a method of performance review for advertising and/or staff. It offers the opportunity of clearly assigning a customer response to a specific advertising medium.”

If you are a business that gets inbound phone calls, tracking them will be an important part of your marketing intelligence (MI) reporting.

Local Numbers vs
Non-Geographic Numbers

If you are a local service business, using local geographic numbers will dramatically increase your call volume by over 200%. Consumers in the UK still associate local phone numbers with local service professionals, so you’ll get many more calls when customers aren’t put off by a generic number.

Non-geographic numbers are perfect for ecommerce sites or non-geographic based businesses. They are cheaper than local tracking numbers, and UK consumers expect to call a non-geographic number when it’s not a local business they are calling.

Source attribution model

To determine the source of each call, the click source down to keyword, there are three types of call tracking source models that software solutions offer today. They broadly sit in three categories:

Campaign level call tracking

Campaign level call tracking

You get a set of numbers to place on your different advertising channels, both online and offline. You’ll know the call volume you are getting per channel and your sales attribution model will be based on the last click, so you won’t always get an accurate picture of the online source that’s driven the call if you have multiple online campaigns. But using campaign call tracking is great for your offline marketing channels and campaigns.

Session-level call tracking

Session-level call tracking

Session-level call tracking gives each unique visitor to your website their own tracking phone number, enabled by placing tracking code on the pages of your site. Better than campaign level tracking for online campaigns, this will give you visitor journey data and click source attribution. Usually tied to the unique customer identification from Google Analytics, as this is refreshed every 30-minutes by Google, accuracy of source reporting and keyword level data will be limited to this 30-minute window.

Visitor-level call tracking

Visitor-level call tracking

You could listen to every call and categorise the outcome to attribute sales, but this is very time consuming and can’t be completed at scale, so you lose the competitive edge that real-time reporting brings.

For the most comprehensive source and keyword tracking, visitor level tracking allows you to track the entire customer journey, no matter how many times the customer visits your site over a 12 month period. This also enables you to run different sales and marketing attribution models from first click to last click, to understand the impact your marketing strategy is having on customer behaviour - and which channels and marketing are contributing to the sale.

Choosing the right attribution model for your business could be the difference between accurate and inaccurate source data. A mix of campaign tracking for offline media and visitor-level tracking for online click sources is the recommended attribution model to adopt.

Sales attribution: Manual vs automatic sales attribution model?

Once you’ve decided on your source tracking model, you then need to decide on how you are going to accurately attribute sales from each call. By effectively measuring the sales outcomes from every call, you can also measure customer journey friction points effectively. You can also find the reasons why callers don’t convert into sales, as you have conversion data for each call.

A manual attribution model can be achieved by either listening to every call and categorising it sometime after the event, which would be very time consuming and resource heavy, or you could rely on the sales team or call agent to manually record the outcome of every call.

Manual sales attribution will lack accuracy and become a drain on resource over time. The latest manual sales attribution models might even allow the member of staff to press a button or sequence of button to record different outcomes. However, sales teams are employed to sell, not track marketing campaigns, so you will always struggle to track accurate results. In the past we’ve often found sales team pick the easiest category, creating data which is inaccurate. This isn’t great if you are basing your marketing optimisation on this data.

You could listen to every call and categorise the outcome to attribute sales, but this is very time consuming and can’t be completed at scale, so you lose the competitive edge that real-time reporting brings.

Using an AI model to predict the outcome of every call enables you to analyse every call, at scale and in real-time, giving you accurate feedback on every call without the drain on resource. Complex AI models can analyse 10,000 calls in 0.2 of a second, whereas it could take weeks to analyse that volume manually.

With accurate sales attribution data you can now map the complete end- to-end sales funnel, attribute sales to their source and keyword and enable customer journey analysis to be completed in real-time, making your customer journey map come alive.

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Dynamic tracking numbers – what does it mean?

There are two types of tracking number models to consider; static or dynamic.

static call tracking number


A static number is where one number is placed within the advertising channel, lets say a Facebook Ad, and every-time a call is received its attributed to that channel. Great for traditional media and things like Google My Business and Facebook where a dynamic number cannot be inserted due to the limitations of the media itself.

dynamic call tracking number


Dynamic numbering, also known as Dynamic Call Tracking, is a method where a unique phone number is displayed from a pool of numbers to a unique website visitor until they drop off your site. The number is associated to the user, usually through their Google Analytics CID. This ensures that when the specific users dials the number, its associated with their user journey, dramatically increasing the accuracy of not only the source of the visitors, but their user journey throughout your site.

Validate with CRM data for the complete revenue picture

Once you’ve chosen your sales attribution model, being able to upload and map CRM sales data with your call outcomes will give you the complete picture of the end-to-end sales funnel, with revenue values enabling you to upload conversion value into Google Ads and Google Analytics.

Whilst it’s great to know you’ve got a conversion on a call, knowing the actual value of the sale can enable you to optimise your marketing spend just like you would with an ecommerce transaction where you have full visibility of the sale. Having the sales value next to each call enables you to see the full conversion journey right through to sale. Not all sales happen on the first call, but if you can measure the touch points the customer has gone through for you to make the sale, you can refine your customer journey and optimise your marketing spend to deliver more value.

Analysing the customer experience in real-time

Customer journey maps are great at defining the route that you want a customer to follow to make a sale. However, not all customers will ‘follow’ the route you intended. After all, they are humans.

Understanding the friction points in any customer journey, and then solving them, will provide significant growth and profitability for any company. An eCommerce site was getting calls from customers that couldn’t get their payment to go through online. After analysis it was discovered that their payment provider had stopped taking American Express. A bed retailer had 50,000 calls going into its branches, but didn’t have the resource to answer those calls in store, with 72% of calls going unanswered. By switching those calls to a call centre, a  6.4m incremental sales opportunity was discovered from consumers that didn’t want to transact online or instore.

Once you can measure the complete sales funnel with visitor level tracking, AI call categorisation and CRM data validation, you get one complete view from multiple data sources. This gives you complete visibility of the customer experience at scale, making your customer journey map come alive with real data.

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